2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan
From Mount Rainier to Puget Sound, Pierce County is home to diverse landscapes and natural resources. While we enjoy their beauty and benefits, these resources can also pose a threat to our communities during flood events.
Pierce County is currently in the process of updating our Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (Plan). It addresses how Pierce County Planning and Public Works will provide various services to improve our community’s resilience to future flood hazards.
The Plan will identify projects, policies, and programs that will reduce the impact of major flooding on the community to be implemented over a 10-year period.
The purpose of the Plan continues to be to create a resilient community by:
- Outlining the County’s local and federal obligations.
- Recommending regional policies, programs, and projects that reduce risks to public health and safety.
- Reducing damage to private improvements as well as critical infrastructure such as roads, highways, ferry landings, assisted living facilities, and bridges.
- Reducing maintenance costs.
- Improving habitat conditions while protecting and maintaining the regional economy.
To develop a more comprehensive strategy, we are taking a new approach in updating the 2023 Plan. While past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 Plan will also include three additional flood risks: coastal, groundwater, and urban flooding.
The Plan will also ensure those efforts are both financially and physically achievable within their timeframe. In addition to advancing projects that were identified in the 2013 Plan, the Plan will identify studies needed to inform future capital projects in the 2033 Plan.
We will be holding a series of community open houses across Pierce County in spring 2023. Stay tuned for more information on how you can provide input on the plan.
Due to restrictions on public gatherings during the pandemic, we were unable to host in-person scoping meetings. Instead, please view the recorded presentation below. Additionally, read more about the Flood Plan on this website and provide any comments via mail or email [email protected]. You are also encouraged to complete the survey to help us better understand what flooding means to you and how you have been impacted by past flood events. The survey can be accessed at PierceCountyWa.gov/FloodSurvey. The SEPA Determination of Significance and Notice of Scoping can be accessed in the document library on the right.
Thank you to those of you who provided comments on the scope of the Pierce County 2023 Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan (Flood Plan) and environmental impact statement. Starting in 2023 the Flood Plan will identify projects and polices that will reduce the impact of major flooding to the community to be implemented over a 10-year period. The 2023 Flood Plan takes a new approach - while past plans only addressed riverine flooding, the 2023 Flood Plan will also address coastal, groundwater, and urban flooding.
Scoping was the first step in the EIS process. The comments received will help Pierce County’s Surface Water Management Division determine what issues should be considered in its technical analysis of potential alternatives, what environmental impacts and potential mitigation measures should be considered and evaluated, and what permits may be required.
After review and consideration of the scoping comments, Pierce County will prepare a draft EIS that will cover aspects of the built and natural environment, including water, plants and wildlife, environmental health, and transportation, among other issues. The draft EIS and draft Flood Plan are expected to be issued for public review and comment in spring of 2023.
Even though the formal comment period has closed, Pierce County will continue to accept comments and answer questions throughout the development of the Flood Plan and EIS. Comments and questions may be submitted by email at: [email protected].
SEPA Determination of Significance and Notice of Scoping
Committee Meeting Agenda & Notes
Pierce County is adopting a pathways approach to adaptive management in this Plan. With uncertainty and limited known information regarding groundwater, coastal and urban flooding, the pathways approach promotes adaptive management. This approach enables adaptation plans to be ongoing by incorporating flexibility and adaptability into the decision-making process. Not all decisions must be made immediately, and options can remain on the table. This prevents decisions being made now that lock decision makers out of other options in the future.An adaptation pathway is a decision-making strategy that is made up of a sequence of manageable steps or decision points over time. This approach helps to deal with the deep uncertainty associated with climate change, shifts in public support, politics and policy changes.
These uncertainties make it difficult to develop specific plans for future flood hazard management projects, particularly when little is known about the hazard, and instead highlight the need for plans that are flexible and responsive to changing conditions over time.
The concept of adaptation pathways has emerged to address these challenges. The adaptation pathway approach has been successfully applied in many countries around the United States and the world. In this plan, three pathways will be prepared for groundwater, coastal and urban flood hazards.
Watch the video below to learn more about the pathways approach.
The Adaptation Pathways video that was referenced in Introduction to Pathways can be found below.
To better understand residents' and stakeholders' experiences with flooding and their preferences for future flood risk reduction projects, Pierce County recently conducted an online survey. A total of 231 people took part in our survey. Thank you to those of you who responded! Your responses will make sure that we are including important information in the study and prioritizing the right values as the work continues.
What did we hear?
- Most survey participants live or own property in Pierce County.
- Many of the survey participants have experienced flooding, ranging from low to severe in nature.
- Most survey participates experienced flooding on their property or their street was flooded.
What will we do with the feedback?
- The results from this survey help us learn from the community’s experiences with flooding in the County. We will use this information to gather where, when, and what types of flooding (coastal, groundwater, urban, and riverine) happens in the County.
- We heard that you want to stay connected, so as this plan progresses, we will send periodic updates about progress we will continue to be available for questions.